Tom and I have wanted a whale shark encounter for so long, but it's honestly just a matter of luck in Hawaiian waters. While on a drop with an oceanic whitetip shark with a local friend of mine who was tagging the sharks for research, all of a sudden a large female whale shark appeared! This was my first wild whale shark, and it was an absolutely breathtaking moment when she appeared out of the depths and swam slowly towards us. For almost 2 hours, we got to enjoy her presence, swimming to keep up with her as she circled an underwater fish farm structure. She even surfaced to within inches of us a few times. I can only surmise she was slightly curious of us, too! She is the first whale shark tagged in Hawaii, and it'll be fascinating to find out what we can learn from her. Aside from humpback whales, she is the largest animal we've ever swam with. But she was so peaceful and swam with such precision and ease. It made us realize even more the need to protect these fascinating animals, sharks in general, and our beautiful blue planet. I'll have a more in-depth write-up soon. For now, enjoy these beautiful photos.
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We are husband & wife biologists traveling to make a difference while studying the ocean and its inhabitants.